Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan
This debut novel by an Irish author is a rare and raw insight into the mind of a young woman who sees love as her salvation. She longs to possess, the beautiful Ciaran, the object of her desire needing him to want only her. She believes that through his love she will validate her self-worth which she struggles to make sense of. The knowledge that he loves another - and can never be hers - fuels an obsessive desire to transform herself in a hundred little ways. The reader senses that she struggles with the emotional protective filters that most of us possess, this helps us feel her pain even more acutely. The writing reflects the way we value ourselves as we believe others see us – a value system based on a social-media-fuelled fantasy of thinness, niceness, and pouting lips – a curated image that is not real. Nolan’s writing is raw, honest in a way that often unsettles – unfiltered in a way that is unusual. The reader gets the whole experience. It is poignant in its descriptions of alcohol fuelled sex and the emotional and physical consequences. The work seems to follow a trend of contemporary women’s writing that rejects the gratification of romance for a gritty realism. For some this will not be entertainment - but for others it will be inspirational.